News

DATE=3/10/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-227887
TITLE=IRAQ INSPECTORS (L)
  BYLINE=AL PESSIN
DATELINE=CAIRO
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  A CONTROVERSIAL AMERICAN ARMS INSPECTOR HAS LEFT IRAQ, 
ALONG WITH MOST OF HIS TEAM, AFTER SEVERAL DAYS OF INSPECTIONS 
WHICH U-N OFFICIALS SAY WENT SMOOTHLY -- UNLIKE THE INSPECTOR'S 
PREVIOUS VISIT TO IRAQ IN JANUARY.  V-O-A'S AL PESSIN REPORTS 
FROM OUR MIDDLE EAST BUREAU IN CAIRO.

TEXT:  ARMS INSPECTION TEAM LEADER SCOTT RITTER LEFT IRAQ TUESDAY
AFTER THREE DAYS OF INTENSIVE INSPECTIONS, WHICH U-N OFFICIALS 
SAY WERE CARRIED OUT TO HIS SATISFACTION.

MR. RITTER AND HIS TEAM, COMPRISING AS MANY AS 50 PEOPLE, CARRIED
OUT SURPRISE INSPECTIONS AT SEVERAL IRAQI SITES, INCLUDING EIGHT 
IRAQ DESCRIBES AS SENSITIVE.  BUT THE TEAM DID  NOT  TRY TO 
INSPECT PRESIDENTIAL SITES, WHICH ARE TO BE COVERED BY SPECIAL 
GROUPS OF INSPECTORS AND DIPLOMATS STARTING IN ABOUT TWO WEEKS.  

MR. RITTER'S INSPECTIONS ON THIS TRIP INCLUDED AN ALL-NIGHT 
OUTING FROM  MONDAY UNTIL DAWN TUESDAY.  BUT, AS WITH HIS OTHER 
TRAVELS IN AND AROUND BAGHDAD THIS TIME, REPORTERS WERE KEPT AWAY
AND WERE  NOT  TOLD EXACTLY WHAT SITES HE VISITED.

THE LAST TIME MR. RITTER WAS IN IRAQ -- IN JANUARY -- THE IRAQI 
GOVERNMENT PREVENTED HIS TEAM FROM WORKING, SAYING IT HAD TOO 
MANY AMERICANS AND BRITONS WHO WERE NOT OBJECTIVE.  IRAQ ALSO 
ACCUSED MR. RITTER OF BEING A SPY.  THE INCIDENT HELPED TRIGGER 
THE CRISIS BETWEEN IRAQ AND THE UNITED NATIONS, WHICH NEARLY 
CAUSED A WAR LAST MONTH.  MR. RITTER RETURNED TO IRAQ UNDER THE 
AGREEMENT NEGOTIATED BY U-N SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN, WHICH 
ENDED THE CRISIS.

THE VISIT WAS WIDELY SEEN AS A U-N EFFORT TO TEST IRAQ'S 
SINCERITY UNDER THAT AGREEMENT.  AN OFFICIAL IRAQI NEWSPAPER, 
"AL-IRAQ," OBJECTED TO THAT TUESDAY, SAYING MR. RITTER CAME TO 
BAGHDAD TO IMPLEMENT AN ALLEGED U-S GOVERNMENT PLAN TO CREATE A 
CRISIS AND HURT THE FEBRUARY AGREEMENT.

MR. RITTER FLEW TO BAHRAIN, WHERE A SENIOR U-N DIPLOMAT WILL BE 
PASSING THROUGH ON HIS WAY TO IRAQ.  THE DIPLOMAT, SRI LANKAN 
JAYANTHA DHANAPALA, IS HEAD OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE WHICH WILL 
ORGANIZE INSPECTIONS OF THE IRAQI PRESIDENTIAL SITES.  HE IS 
EXPECTED IN BAGHDAD ON WEDNESDAY.

IRAQ SAYS IT HAS GOTTEN RID OF ALL ITS WEAPONS OF MASS 
DESTRUCTION, AND IT WANTS THE INSPECTIONS COMPLETED AS SOON AS 
POSSIBLE TO PROVE ITS CONTENTION, AND TO ALLOW FOR THE LIFTING OF
U-N ECONOMIC SANCTIONS.  BUT THE UNITED STATES AND MANY OTHER 
NATIONS SAY IRAQ HAS LIED ABOUT ITS WEAPONS PROGRAM MANY  TIMES 
BEFORE, AND THAT ANY LIFTING OF THE SANCTIONS CAN ONLY COME AFTER
EXTENSIVE AND UNRESTRICTED INSPECTIONS.  (SIGNED)

NEB/AWP/PCF



10-Mar-98 10:59 AM EST (1559 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.